tv Dateline NBC NBC January 14, 2013 2:00am-3:00am PST
>> you're not going to believe it, either. because in this case there is a final terrifying twist. >> i see someone with a crowbar. >> will you see it coming? i'm lester holt, and this "indict dait li "dateline." tonight, family affair. here is david murphy. >> if ever there was a little girl lost, it was maya boggs. >> when i was little, i was always in the way. >> she survived a mother/daughter relationship like nothing you've ever heard. >> my mother was like hugging a cactus. you will eventually get hurt. >> pull up a chair and stay awhile. there's plenty in this story. >> it's an amazing, unusual, frightening story. >> what ended so badly in a darkened hotel room with the curtains drawn has its beginnings, really, in the warm sands of south florida. not the south beach of today
with its hot bodies and pulsating dance clubs. that's all a marketing reinvention of a much older miami beach. no, we need to go back 50 years or month when caddies with tail fins were pulling into the newest, glitziest hotel in the west. the fountain bleu. steven gaines wrote about the era in his book "fool's paradise." >> it became a destination for the rat pack, frank sinatra, major stars were a at the fountain bleu, and lots of movies were being filmed there as well. >> he needed a queen to preside over his palace. he found one in a former coca-cola model named bernice. with her beauty and effortless charm, bernice turned out to be the perfect host to entertain
the gangsters and guests who made the fountain bleu in its day. they lived in the hotel in a penthouse suite. then came along a young prince, ben novak, jr. ben jr. would be trotted out to shake the hands the likes of jfk, then it was back in the hotel elevator to home. birthday cakes came from room service. >> and the kids who came to the birthday party were complete strangers to him, just kids passing through the hotel. >> the friendliest lonely boy disliked by his father's help lost himself in the fantasy world of batman. the superhero became an obsession. even as an adult, ben jr. was still a massing a floor to ceiling collection of batman memorabilia. he even bought a batmobile from the old tv show. but there was no holding off the real world and change. just as the rat pack faded away,
so, too, did the fountain bleu. by the late '70s, miami beach was regarded as a stale place for old people. ben novak, sr. lost the hotel to bankruptcy and died not long afterwards. the son, ben jr., all grown up now, stayed in the hospitality business and made his mark. he created a company run out of his home here that organized conventions and big hotels. like his father, he was a hard-nosed businessman, and in time he was grossing $50 million a year. and like his father, he needed someone like his mother to mix and mingle with the clients. he found that woman in a recent emigre from eduador. her name was marci and she had a little girl named may. >> why do you think they became a couple and didn't just pass in the night? >> my mother was a lot of fun. she definitely partied. >> when ben jr. met marci, she was partying for strips in a
sleazy nightclub. >> she did very well. >> she did very well. my mother could adjust to just about anything. >> marci left her stripper positively to marry ben novak, jr. but her daughter felt in the way in her new relationship. she was sent to a boarding school at the age of 8. >> did you feel shipped off? >> kind of. >> you had a tough childhood, huh? >> best thing is that it's over. >> ben jr. and her mother lived in a $2 million estate with a pool in back. but the stepdaughter was never going to be a rich man's kid. she grew up tough and hard, estranged from her mother, paying her own way with bartending and waitressing jobs. she had two children young and sweated the bills. it was the grandchildren that ultimately thawed some of the ice between mother and daughter. >> she may have been a horrible mother, but she was the best
grandmother. she did everything with them. >> and ben jr. warmed to may. the one-time lonely prince be latedly seemed to recognize a kindred spirit in neglected may. >> he saw me as a daughter since he had no children of his home, and i saw him as a father. >> she had kids who wanted to play with all his batman stuff. >> he did a lot of grandfatherly stuff with them. i think why we saw so much of each other was because of those two boys. >> when she was in her late 20s, ben jr. asked may to be part of his conventional organizing business. she would work alongside her mother and his mother bernice. it had taken 20 years, but they were finally becoming a family. >> you know, when i actually became older and got into the business, he was always there, guided me and showed me how to do things. >> then sadness. in the spring of 2009, bernice
in her late 80s, had apparently slipped and taken a nasty fall getting out of her car. she struggled through the house and died. may thought the time had come. for years ben had been asking her to consider becoming his legally adopted daughter. she thought it would be the perfect father's day gift for him. >> i started thinking bernice had just passed and it would be something nice for him, you know, okay, you do have a daughter. because i do feel like i am his daughter to this day. so it never got legally changed. all the paperwork is still on his desk. >> it never got attended to because of the brutal event three months after bernice's passing. ben, marci and may were putting on another of their big conventions in a hotel in northwestern suburban nassau county. just after the convention, the
hotel got an urgent call. something very bad had happened in one of the suites. a 58-year-old man had been found bound and bludgeoned to death in the bedroom. ben novak, jr., the one-time prince of the fountain bleu, had been murdered. >> so, then, who might want ben novak dead? investigators are writing up a long list of possible suspects. was it a business deal gone bad? or someone after his fortune? maybe it was someone closer to home. the search begins when we come back. and it wasn't going to be easy. >> we decided we were going to download the locks of every room in the hotel. >> the comings and goings of everybody. >> 150 rooms. >> when "family affair" continues. al hair removal can be costly.
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the sprawling hilton hotel in rybrook, new york was host to 2,000 amway conventioneers that summer in 2009. one of the suites had become a homicide scene. sergeant terry wilson from the local police would lead the investigation. >> i couldn't believe what i saw. i went in the room and there was the victim hog-tied on the floor, and it was a bloody mess. >> what does that tell you? >> this was a targeted individual. >> is it true that his eyes were also gouged out? >> yes. yes. >> sergeant wilson learned that the victim was ben novak, jr., a name that meant nothing to him. the murdered man's wife and
stepdaughter had been escorted to a nearby hotel room so investigators could take their statements. the wife of 20 years, narci, told sergeant wilson that her husband had been up all night working on convention details and didn't go to bed, she thought, until about 6:30 in the morning. she said she had then gone downstairs around 7:00 to oversee getting breakfast organized for the convention guests. >> could you verify, for instance, that the wife was indeed at the breakfast by a security camera? >> yes. we did have our own video confirm what she was saying. >> the stepdaughter, may abod, who managed these company's road trips, confirmed her mother's story who came down to pitch in for breakfast. >> i was thinking, there is a lot of people. there's 2,000 people down here. i'll take any help i can get. >> after the breakfast rush, narci called her husband up in the room. no answer. >> she comes back up around 7:30 or so? >> yeah. >> she told detectives she tripped over the body, and then
bolted from the room slehriekin for help. security arrived, as did gary norris. >> narci was trying to lunge toward the body, howl and go screaming at the top of her lungs. >> our car was just getting to the road at 7:40. but just after midnight -- >> there had been no activity up to that point. >> -- opening going into the doors. that tells you right away, the door opened from the inside. >> if narci had been downstairs helping with breakfast and no other key opened the door since midnight, who, then, had admitted the killer or killers? an early-on mystery. may, meanwhile, had been summoned to -- by the hotel manager to her father's suite.
>> he's gone. i said, what do you mean he's gone? >> just try and do something. >> security guards wouldn't let her in the room. >> they said it's a bloodbath in there. >> a bloodbath that sent her mother in hiss ter ysterics. >> she was absolutely going crazy. she said, they must be after our money. they know we have bags of it. >> this weekend they had taken in more than $100,000. now, that money wasn't being kept in a hotel safe behind the front desk. rather, it was stashed in closets, under the beds of the staff members. question. had an insider who knew how they had gone about their business decided to rip off the company by torturing ben to cough up the cash? >> they had around 100,000 in cash. >> so you're in motivation
country right now, huh? >> we're trying to figure out what's going on. >> they didn't get anything from him, so i'm scared not only for him, but for the staff. >> and if someone had been roaming the hotel hallways with money and murder on their mind, there were 2,000 potential suspects. a detective's nightmare. >> we decided we were going to download the locks of the entire hotel. >> you're kidding. with the comings and goings of every room. >> 150 rooms. it took him two weeks to do it. >> the hotel was bristling with security cameras, but unfortunately none outside the murder room. one of the first things the cops did was round up all that cash and get it stored in the hotel safe until the banks opened in the morning. then sergeant wilson posted a guard at the hotel room being shared by the mother and daughter. before that sunday night was over, the two women would have another round of questioning with the detectives. >> they totally grilled me, and you get mad.
so, of course, i was fighting back. >> they're asking you the question, did you do this? >> correct. and one of the cops even told me, we have to ask you these questions. and i said, do you have to get like right here to ask the questions? >> a detective had joined the investigation and led some of the questioning. >> may, the daughter, what did you make of her? >> pretty much i got the feeling she was being honest with me. but you never know. people are deceptive. >> the cops went over narci's story again, hoping they overlooked some nugget of information. >> all of a sudden she's a widow. >> we needed that information. she was the last person to see mr. novak. >> narci told detectives there was something of value missing, a cold bracelet that spelled out mr. novak's name in diamonds, and an unexplained broken stem from a cheap pair of sunglasses. then there was the matter of her
husband's huge batman collection and a rare comic valued at $43,000 he was planning on selling that weekend. >> batman might have been a motivation for murder. his passion in life. >> uh-huh. >> he had a valuable comic and somebody else wanted it. or wanted the value of it. >> correct. >> sunday was over. on monday the cops would hear about the novak's tie-me-up sex games. on monday, when mother and daughter started to go for one another's throat. >> coming up, they should have been united in grief. instead, there would be a feud sparked by a single troubling moment. >> as i'm sitting there, my suspicions are growing and growing by
big role, figuring out who the murderer was, as well as his circle of friends and family. >> the two detectives would eventually piece together an unflattering family portrait. >> in the beginning we didn't know was there an affair, was it domestic, was it a random act? >> they conjured the story of ben novak, jr., a man with an he can eccentric batman collection, a stepchild brought in late to the family circle. >> it took us a while to learn about the family. >> the novaks came off as candidates, maybe, for the cast of a bad reality show, but he still looked like number one target in a homicide. >> he could have culminated a lot of enemies along the line. >> there were a lot of people
who didn't like him. >> following the murder, detectives took narci and may to the morgue to see his body. >> i'm throwing up in a garbage can, detectives are there and everything else, and we all turn around and she's just staring at him. there is no emotion at all from her. >> that monday, late into the night, narci and her daughter were interrogated by the detectives. >> i should have been there. >> detective kecarpentier broacd the subject of their sex life. she let it out that he liked bo bondage. >> here he had been tied up in
the homicide. did you think, well, is this a sex game gone wrong? >> we had brought it up to her and i did confront her with that in the interview. >> ben is found in a way that he enjoys sexually. >> no, no, no. when i left ben, he was not tied up. >> i just found it odd that the way he finds pleasurable, he's killed in the same way. >> because she was the spouse, the questions for narci got sharper as the night wore on. was she in on the murder? >> if i'm being asked if i let them in, no, i don't let them in. >> all the while, may had been outside eaves dropping on her mother's interrogation, getting chills. >> may said to me that somebody told her it was a bloodbath. i don't remember anything blood. blood is red. >> just listening to her talk to detectives, nothing was making sense. >> when she heard her mother describe tripping over the body and reaching down to touch ben,
alarms went off. she had seen her mother shortly after that. >> i'm looking at her and there is no blood on her. >> in a scene that was described to you as a bloodbath. >> correct. and i'm looking at her from head to toe. >> but you don't see any evidence on her. >> i don't see any evidence on her. >> what are you thinking? >> my suspicions are growing by the minute, and then i'm thinking i'm this horrible human being for even thinking my mother could do something like this. >> for 14 relentless hours, detectives tried to pin back narci novak's ears, trying to make it look like she masterminded the murder. >> she never ate anything, she never drank anything, and she never went to the bathroom. detectives would come in and question her, she would just keep going. nothing fazed her. >> had an escort girl tied her
up? >> she scoffed at the idea. short of after 9:00 p.m., detective carpentier brought up the idea of a lie detector test. >> i take a hundred lie detectors. i'll do whatever you want me to do. >> at this point i'm hoping i'm completely wrong. if she takes this polygraph test and she passes, then i'm just going crazy in my own head. there's no way she did this. >> may also agreed that night to be polygraphed. but then narcy got cold feet about taking hers. >> and the daughter is saying to the mother, what is wrong with you? why don't you just take the lie detector test? what's the problem? >> the mother finally agreed to the polygraph. may would pass her test, but -- >> how did the lie detector test go for narcy? >> it didn't go well. >> she flunked it all the way through. >> yes. >> when cops were finally done
with the two for the night, may confronted her mother. >> i asked her to her face. >> did you have something to do with this? >> i did. i got in her face, and they had pictures of the crime scene and stuff, and i smacked them in her face. >> you think your mother has killed ben jr.? >> i think she definitely had something to do with it. i didn't think she did it herself personally. >> the cops had only started to peel back the many layers of the novak family story. there was still so much about these people they didn't know. >> it turns out there were a few things may herself didn't know. but when we come back, she is about to find out. >> i see my mother coming at me with a crowbar. >> when "family affair" continues. need a tow or lock your keys in the car, geico's emergency roadside assistance is there 24/7. oh dear, i got a flat tire. hmmm. uh... yeah, can you find a take where it's a bit more dramatic on that last line, yeah? yeah i got it right here.
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the cops were spooling through hours of hotel security cam footage, looking for what they weren't exactly sure. the footwork of the homicide investigation was under way. >> we're leaving the doors open as far as we're concerned. everything is on the table until the investigation either stalls or someone is arrested. >> the body of ben novak, jr. was with the medical examiner. mother and daughter attached now by blood only return to florida separately. may had her own agenda, telling the cops she would help them any way she could. she was collecting her things from her parents' house, when she stopped in the guest cottage where ben had his home office. she was snooping through his files for the detectives when she turned to see her mother upon her like a fury. >> i see my mother coming at me with a crowbar. very quickly she swung it and i
put up my arm and she got the full end with the crowbar. >> it was literally the final blow for may. >> she was calling me a traitor. >> she knew you were giving evidence against her? >> uh-huh. >> could you have backed off at that point? could you have been the good little daughter and fallen in line? >> no. it's not in me. i knew what she had done was wrong. even though she was my mother, i knew she was wrong. >> the battleground between mother and daughter then moved from knot vac house to the courthouse. a take no prisoners fight over the will. may was giving the cops her theory. her mother had murdered her stepfather for the inheritance. narcy, as the beneficiary, stood to get an estate estimated at $10 million, lock, stock and batmobile. >> at this point my mother was to get everything, and i was like, she's going to get away with this. >> may filed a civil lawsuit against her mother, arguing the probate court shouldn't award narcy ben's mother because she
had had him killed. the court ended up freezing ben's assets while they looked into the allegation. so the big money was on ice. but by then her mother had illicitly cleaned out accounts kept by ben and her mother. >> she told them a story? >> she d. >> my husband is out in the car waiting? >> uh-huh. >> and he had been dead for a week at that point. >> yeah. >> narcy had been seen leaving the bank with a duffel bag. with the police scrutinizing her every move and may hounding her, they hired an investigator. he disputed may's contention that narcy was involved in her husband's death. >> she had absolutely nothing to do with it. when she discovered ben novak, she acted consistently with how anyone else would act in that situation. >> the defense attorney urged anyone looking at this case to follow the money in ben's
murder. down there in the fine print of the will, it says may, the daughter, may have had her own reasons for having ben dead and her mother accused. >> may and the children were next in line. >> if somehow narcy were removed from the inheritance, may would get about $10 million. >> with narcy out of the picture, may would get a flat $150,000 and the two boys the rest of the estate. narcy started to offer her own opinion of the crime. may had done it. >> so she accused you of doing it. >> uh-huh. >> for the money. >> yuh-huh. >> the mother and daughter finger pointing continued even as ben was put into the family mausoleum. the mother was flanked by armed body guards. the daughter brought her sons.
>> one of my mother's bodyguards flashed his guns at my kids. >> i'm packing in case there is any doubt? one of those kind of gestures? >> i saw everything when she threatened her own grandkids. i told myself she would never do anything to these grandkids. she loves these kids. >> bad blood for sure. but detectives were about to learn there was another close relative of interest in this toxic family portrait and more crimes to investigate. perhaps even another murder. coming up, from out of the blue, a twist, a clue that could turn the case upside down. >> this is shocking and it could be a big break. >> and then, revisiting those hotel security videos. the sight that chilled investigators. when "dateline" continues. the trit clumps. mascara is..
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uhh, it's next month, actually... eddie continues singing: to tickets to... paradiiiiiise! no four. remember? whoooa whooaa whooo! you know ronny, folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to geico sure are happy. and how happy are they jimmy? happier than eddie money running a travel agency. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. mother and daughter each had a $10 million motive for murder as detectives saw it. but sergeant harry wilson was focusing on narcy. he knew he didn't have enough to charge for her husband's murder, at least not yet. she had an alibi for the assumed time of the murder. the case against her was circumstantial. so somebody else must have
gotten into the room and killed her husband. but who? then seemingly out of nowhere, an anonymous letter flut tered onto the desk of a detective a thousand miles away from the crime scene. miami springs investigator gary fl flutter knew nothing about the novak case. >> there were people who knew the name, the fountain bleu and all. i didn't know anything about it until i talked to detective wilson in new york. >> the letter, written in spanish, was nothing but a blueprint to the murder, naming names, citing motivations. >> this is shocking and it could be a big break. >> sergeant wilson up in westchester couldn't wait to see it. >> whoever wrote this letter obviously had information, inside information. >> looking back, that letter had the whole story. the greed, the inheritance, the obstacles in the way of the inheritance. >> the facts in that letter were on the money. >> here's the gist of the letter. it claimed narcy's brother, a
man named cristobal barlese had hired some thugs to kill him. >> we apparently caught him off guard. he said if they sat down, he would be happy to answer any questions they had. we sat down at the kitchen table and the kitchen table is littered with papers. >> the detective and others spied something on top of the heap. >> there's western union receipts. this is all out in the open. this is too good to be true. like pinch me. we're holding a conversation with him, trying not to focus on the table because we don't want to draw attention to it. >> when narcy's brother briefly left the room, sergeant wilson's partner furiously copied down names, dates and receipt numbers. why would narcy's brother, a bus driver just scraping by, be wiring loads of money to one
particular person in miami? >> one of the names on the receipt is garcia, is that right? >> garcia. >> being a garcia in miami is like being a murphy in boston. >> yes, it is. >> they began running it all down, and security cameras picked up narcy's brother wiring the money to philly, but at the receiving end in miami, the cameras were on the fritz. no luck getting pictures of this garcia guy picking up the money. so they moved on to the brother's cell phone records and found frequent calls to a woman in miami. it turns out the phone belonged to garcia's ex-girlfriend, and he had been using it. they talked to her. >> where the big break came was she said he had a defective eye. >> a garcia with a bad eye. the database search was narrowed. >> now we have some sort of physical description to see if this individual is arrested, and lo and behold, he was. >> so garcia with the bum eye pops up. >> and we get a photo.
>> now the detectives were on a roll. with alejandro garcia's mug shot before them, they reracked those hotel security tapes from the day of the murder. >> this is the main entrance. here they come. >> bingo. there was garcia and the dark shirt was somebody else. his ex-girlfriend said he always wore sunglasses to protect his bad eye, but he wasn't wearing them on that day. >> and you see the two of them walking very fast out, alejandro with the bag. alejandro doesn't have his glasses on anymore. >> with the broken frames, which are now -- >> apparently, as the victim reacts to the assault, he hits alejandro in the face, breaking the glasses. the glasses fall onto the bed. >> they rewound the tapes even further back to the first day of the convention, and there they were again. garcia in sunglasses and a yellow shirt and the other guy casing the hotel. in one chilling scene, they check out their future victim, ben novak, jr., in the lobby. >> and in less than 48 hours they're going to murder this
guy. >> in less than 48 hours they're going to murder this guy. >> the second man is i.d.d as joe gonzalez of miami. they started with garcia. >> we started to hunt him down. >> the miami hunt didn't take long. garcia was picked up on an outstanding warrant. the new york cops braced him. garcia denied ever become in new york. >> he's on video in the hotel. >> detectives had some surprises to smoke out their one-eyed suspect. they showed him stills from the security cam footage. garcia and his suspected accomplice in the hotel. the capper was a tape recording of a phone call between the detective and narcy's brother kr cristobal. he says he wants to help the cops and gives the name alejandro garcia.
alejandro listens silently as the brother pushed him under the bus. >> cristobal told me you did the murder. >> he denied being the hit man in that interrogation. but the message was clear. get on board now, confess or take the fall. >> he's going to be booked on charges of murder. >> meanwhile, the evidence against narcy's brother was piling up. cell phone tower records showing him near the hotel on the morning of the murder. evidence he provided a getaway car and driver. >> who was in charge of this gag, the conspirators? >> the street boss that was handling everything that was going on was cristobal berlise. >> and who was the boss of bosses? with a $10 million motive, there was only one answer to the cops. narcy novak had ordered the hit on her husband. >> obviously he reported to narcy with his direction.
>> it was now a multi-state conspiracy case. the decision was made to let federal prosecutors take the complex conspiracy to trial. the suspected hit men, garcia and gonzalez, were offered a deal. testify against narcy and her brother or go away to prison for what would likely be life sentences. the two confessed to being hit men in a murder for hire scheme. then garcia shocked the prosecutors. there was something else. a second murder they didn't know about. and if they didn't act fast, they said, a third was on the way. coming up, just who was in the crosshairs? >> there was a hit out on me. >> this detective's personal quest to save this daughter in danger [ female announcer ] now get high speed internet at home on our newly expanded advanced digital network, a connection you can count on. at&t u-verse high speed internet offers more speed options, reliability and wi-fi hotspots than ever. go to our website below to get u-verse high speed internet
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he claimed he also killed someone else on orders from narcy and her brother almost a year earlier, and he had gotten away with it. the murder for hire none other than ben novak's 87-year-old mother bernice. the one-time queen of the mountain bleu died three months before ben, and what florida cops and the medical examiner ruled was an accidental death, a slip and fall getting out of her car. >> he had a monkey wrench and he took what appeared to be a baseball swing and hit her several times in the head. >> garcia said he got paid $600 for the job. but why kill ben's 87-year-old mother? because in ben's will in place at the time, if he died first, his mother, not his wife narcy, would be the primary beneficiary. but with bernice dead, there was nothing standing in narcy's way. >> had they not tried to kill ben and succeeded in killing
ben, they probably never would have found out. >> and there's more. when they collected from garcia, they found out another person was in the mix. narcy's daughter may. >> i figured there was, but i couldn't prove it to anybody. then when we found out there was a hit on may, that became concerning. >> a battered photo was found in garcia's wallet. he was told she would be the next job. well, may freaked. she needed to move apartments asap and told federal prosecutors she didn't have the money. the feds told her they would get her the money, but the paperwork would take time. detective allison carpentier didn't think there was time. >> here came a moment of moral dilemma, ethical dilemma for you as a person and an officer. >> yes. it was hard. >> what did you decide to do? >> i decided to give her money
and tell them off. >> the detective loaned may $5,000 of her own money. may promised to pay her back. when prosecutors heard of it, they removed detective carpentier from the case. they would call it buying witness testimony. >> i couldn't sleep at night knowing that if they didn't wake up the next morning, i had done nothing. >> if it wasn't for her, i wouldn't be here today. >> almost a year after ben's murder, narcy was indicted and walked past the camera's of "america's most wanted." she was arrested for conspiracy, witness tampering and a host of other charges. >> the charge that led to killing ben novak was a family affair. >> garcia, the hit man, testified in icy cold detail how he killed ben novak, jr. >> how did they get into the room? >> narcy opened the door and let
them in. >> prosecutors argued that morning there was a small window of opportunity for narcy to let the hit men in and direct the assault on her sleeping husband. >> the victim was in bed. they got right in position. they signal, one, two, three, and then boom. then the assault starts. >> and they're banging him in the head. >> they hit him in the head, in the ribs. brutally. ztz t >> the two hit men used small hand weights to pummel ben. narcy looked o. >> i guess there is a time when he's making moans and she toss tosses a pillow in. >> did she tell them to gouge out his eyes? >> she d. >> for narcy, it was primarily the hit man's word against hers until the jury heard about
narcy's secret cell phone. on the morning of the murder, garcia testified narcy called her brother while they waited at the gas station near the hotel. >> she makes the call from her phone at 6:30 in the morning to say, come on. that's huge because it's her calling cristobal and bringing the killers in. >> yet there's another twist here. would you be surprised to learn there was another woman in this story? a person named rebecca bliss. >> you're looking mighty sexy today. >> thank you. >> bliss, a south florida tattoo artist and sometime porn actress, was having an affair with ben jr. he put her up in a nice waterfront apartment and told bliss he was going to leave his wife for her. narcy, the story goes, learned of the affair and called bliss, saying if i can't have him, no one will. six months later, he was dead. and without eyes to ever look at another woman. >> this case was about money, and it was about narcy not wanting to be replaced.
>> when defense attorney howard tanner put on his case, he zeroed in on the hit men's credibility and their motivation in testifying. he also attacked their allegation that narcy was in the room during the murder. >> they themselves stated that they would do anything to help themselves. in my book, they would have been willing to lie. >> is narcy in the room? >> absolutely not. >> and how about the absurd direction she gives them? gouge his eyes out. >> it just didn't happen. >> narcy objected that her daughter may could somehow be involved in the murder so she and her sons could inherit the estate. >> if narcy novak disappears, she takes, and her children take under the will. those are facts. >> so that's the defense? jurors consider who is going to get this money here? and it's not just narcy novak, it's the daughter here, may? >> there was a complete investigation done in this case. i'm not claiming that anyone else committed this murder. the defense here is that narcy
novak did not commit this murder. >> detectives concluded that may knew nothing about ben's will until well after the murder. >> i didn't even know that my name or my boys' names were in this will. >> after a nine-week trial, narcy and her brother were found guilty of racketeering a conspiracy in the death of ben novak, jr. and his mother bernice. they were acquitted of only one charge involving the theft of ben's diamond bracelet. in the conspiracy the murderer almost got away with, murder of ben novak, the conviction carried a life sentence for both. z >> the best part was bernice could finally rest in peace. >> narcy spoke to dateline from prison. she said she never would have done anything to harm her husband ben and was innocent of all the charges. terry nelson and his investigators won the big case. now her mother was gone and would spend the rest of her life
in prison. >> she didn't see what she had in front of her. she had her daughter, she had two grandkids that totally loved her, and now she has nothing. >> and greed and some amount of jealousy presumably is driving this. >> absolutely. no matter what, i love my mother. she was my mother. she had grandkids that adored her that would have done anything for her. and they did. and she threw it all away for money. >> if you go to miami beach, the fountain bleu is still there, all spruced up with a new lease on life. and may has a fresh new outlook on the rest of her life, too. a new little guy in her life, a one-year-old son. she named him ben after the lost prince. the namesake he never got to meet. >> that's all for now. i'm lester holt. thank you for joining us.
good sunday morning. the president's nominee to lead the defense department, former senator chuck haigle is under intense scrutiny and he as the white house try to push back against critic office his foreign policy views. this morning, someone who supports the hagel nomination, the former secretary of state, general colin powell, here to speak exclusively to us. general powell, good morning, welcome back to the program. >> good morning, david. welcome to be here. >> i want to start on chuck hagel. why do you think he should be confirmed? >> i think there are a number of reasons. first, i think he has had a very, very distinguished public service record that he can stand on. there are a lot of comments about different things he said over the years and i think he will have a chance to respond to all those comments as the confirmation hearings. but it might be useful just to stand back and take a look at this man overall a young man who
volunteered to go to vietnam. they wanted to send him to europe, a nice, safe, place, he wanted to go to vietnam. he and his brother went. they were both wounded, he was wounded twice. came back to vietnam, went to school on the gi bill, veterans administration. from there went to other things in life. he supported president reagan in his run for office and as a result of that, he received an appointment as deputy director of the veterans aminute station to show you the kind of courage this guy has what happened he believes in he quit after one year because he felt the veterans administration was not doing a good job for veterans answered couldn't take that went back to private life. started a cellular company. in those days, it was something rather remarkable and new. made a for chuchblt did very, very well. and he continued to serve. and while he was running that cellular company, he also was president of the uso, which was in trouble. so this is a guy who knows veterans, knows the troops, knows the uso. and when people say, well that doesn't necessarily make him a good candidate for secretary of defense, i will tell you who thinks that makes him a good
candidate for secretary of defense, the men and women in the armed forces of the united states and their parents who know that this is a guy who will be very careful about putting their lives at risk, 'cause he put his life at risk. he know what is war is and he will fight a wars if the's necessary but a guy that will do it with great deliberation and care. beyond that he went back to nebraska, ran for senate. became a senator. said he would only serve two terms. only served two terms. and when he was elected the second time, he was elected with 83% of the vote. this is a guy respected by his fellow citizens of nebraska. served here for a total of 12 years. and what did he do when he left the senate? he came became an ac testimony knick georgetown, school of foreign service, teaching the new leaders. he also has been co-chairman of the president's intelligence advisory board. he is alsos on the defense policy board. this is a gentleman who knows all of these issues in depth. he is a fellow who speaks his mind. he sometimes